Treasure it or lose it
A good lama will not teach the dharma easily, to just any student. Feeling that we can get dharma whenever and wherever we want is a sign that the dharma has become devalued.
A genuine lama, like Milarepa, Gampopa, or Patrul Rinpoche, will not teach the dharma lightly. For example, when they detected a hint of pride in the student, they did not teach them. Their way was exactly as the buddha taught, ‘Do not teach those who are without faith.’ It’s because when there is pride in one’s mind, one is not a fit vessel, so they will not be benefited by the teaching.
Sometimes it saddens me that I do not treasure the dharma more, teaching it to students who I don’t know so well, or who may not have that much faith in the dharma. It shows that I’m not a genuine lama or practitioner.
But I aspire that one day, I will really treasure the dharma and do as is taught in the dharma by only teaching the dharma to those who are suitable.
The dharma should only be taught to those who are really going to put the teachings into practise. Those who have faith in the dharma but do not practise should be left to their own devices, while those who sincerely intend to practise and are dedicated should be taught and trained at length. This way the faithful will retain their faith, because there will be individuals they can look up to with devotion who are learned and well practised.
If those who are not so dedicated, who do not practise, are given lots of teachings, they will not be benefitted by these teachings and will therefore think that the dharma is useless and will assume that it is ineffective for everyone, which is obviously not the case.
What’s more, anything that is given freely to anyone at anytime in a liberal fashion loses its value. So if we want the buddhadharma to survive and flourish it is probably better that we treasure it like the lamas of old did.